Feeling Reality

Published on December 24, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

Contemplative traditions the world over, speak about awareness as that which is most central to human experience for without it, without this capacity to know, there would simply be no experience. When pointing others to awareness, the argument frequently goes something like this: “How do you know you are having the experience of happiness or sadness; how do you know sounds are being heard, that sights are being seen or that you exist? You know these things because awareness is present. Awareness is the light that illumines everything, the light that makes everything known.

I’ve noticed, however, that for some people, the terms awareness and consciousness can at times come across as overly abstract and difficult to understand or grasp experientially. So, here’s another way to understand what awareness is—awareness is not merely that which illumines or makes things known though it is certainly that. It is also that which feels experience. We know that thoughts are being thought or that sounds are being heard because we can feel those things are present.  We know things are because they are felt. Awareness and feeling are really synonyms for to be aware is to feel whatever appears. And so just as we might discover the miracle of awareness by inquiring into what is it that knows experience, we could also ask the question, what is it that feels the presence of anything and everything?

Here is a poem that speaks to this idea that the knowing of reality is also the feeling of it.

Feeling Reality

No matter how
seemingly subtle
or gross,
here we are
feeling everything—
the light that shines
upon the waking world,
and the deepest darkness
of our sleeping nights.

Whether roaring
or barely heard,
here we are,
feeling everything—
the music of the
birds and swaying trees
and the songs
of laughing, crying
people everywhere.

Be it tangible
or intangible,
here we are,
feeling everything—
the trillions of
starlit thoughts
flickering inside
this vast and
borderless sky
and the rush
of watery emotions
as they splash and surge
upon our shores. 

Whether obvious
or hidden from view,
here we are,
feeling everything—
the unfathomable
mystery of it all,
the unknowable,
inconceivable reality
shining forth as
life feeling and
knowing itself
as the intimacy
of this.

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